Finally the Australian Government, and more specifically our new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, is going to apologise to the ‘Stolen Generations’.
It’s well past the time for the goverment to apologise to the Aboriginal Community as a whole for the ridiculous policies of previous governments – when it was thought that Aboriginal children would have a ‘better life’ when taken from their families and communities in the bush and placed with adoptive white parents in the cities of Australia. This misguided and utterly foolish practice continued from the mid 1800’s to the 1970’s – despite outcry from Aboriginal and white communities alike. (Find more information HERE – or go see the film ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’)
A short bit of the above link outlines the depth of the issue:-
The term ‘stolen generations’ refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities by government, welfare or church authorities as children and placed into institutional care or with non-Indigenous foster families. The forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children began as early as the mid 1800s and continued until 1970.
This removal occurred as the result of official laws and policies aimed at assimilating the Indigenous population into the wider community.
The 1997 Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families, conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found that between 1 in 10 and 3 in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their families and communities in the period from 1910 to 1970.
The Western Australian and Queensland governments have confirmed that in that period all Indigenous families in their States were affected by the forced removal of children. It’s not possible to know precisely how many children were taken because government records of these removals are poor and many government files are inaccurate.
The first National Sorry Day was held in 1998 after the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report was published by the National Sorry Day Committee. This report listed recommendations that both Aboriginal and white Australian committee members agreed would go a long way to help the bad blood that had festered because of the policies, and because of previous government’s reluctance to just simply say sorry. Sorry we took your children. Sorry we destroyed your communities and your lives. Sorry we disrespected you, your culture and your place as Australians.
Good on you Mr Rudd – this is bloody long overdue and I’m really glad that you’ve got the balls to finally do it. There’s a patriotic glow in my heart today. It seems we’re finally on the good road…
On Wed 13 Feb at 09:00 aussie time, a televised event will be held and ‘The Apology’ (which now deserves capital letters!) will be issued. Sounds like an excuse for a party to me!
Now we just have to get the Church to apologise for it’s part in this nasty business. Can’t see that happening – Mother Church won’t apologise for anything. Still, we live in hope…
And thanks to Pavlov’s Cat for the head’s up!